Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ole Wendroth


Agricultural system models integrate many different processes that cannot all be measured in field experiments and help quantify soil water dynamics, crop evapotranspiration, and crop growth with high temporal resolution. Understanding soil water dynamics and crop evapotranspiration is essential to improve agricultural management of field crops. For example, the interaction between nitrogen application rate and water dynamics is not sufficiently understood. In most cases, model simulations deviate from field measurements, especially when model input parameters are indirectly and unspecifically derived. The extent to which measured soil hydraulic property inputs decrease the discrepancy between measured and simulated soil water status is not well understood. Consequently, this study: (i) investigated thr use of measured soil hydraulic properties as Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM2) inputs compared to indirectly derived inputs; (ii) explored the capability of calibrating measured soil hydraulic property input parameters for one crop and using them for other crops without further calibration; (iii) studied the effect of the nitrogen application rate on the behavior of soil water dynamics and crop evapotranspiration using RZWQM2 under different rainfall amounts. To evaluate the model in different field management conditions, a field experiment with soybean, corn, wheat, and fallow soil was conducted from 2015 – 2017 to collect field data to calibrate and validate the RZWQM2 model. The model presented a satisfactory response to using measured soil hydraulic property inputs and a satisfactory capability to quantify the effect of nitrogen rates on daily crop evapotranspiration, soil water dynamics, and crop growth. With sufficient measurements of soil hydraulic parameters, it was possible to build a RZWQM2 model that produced reasonable results even without calibration.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

The Higher Committee For Education Development in Iraq (HCED)